CoMotion is an annual student-led motion graphics conference at the Savannah College of Art and Design. The 2022 event was another virtual one due to the pandemic and COVID restrictions, and everything was hosted through the YouTube livestream. My primary involvement was to animate the logo, and lead a team of 8 animators to produce the event title sequence and the student showcase title cards.
In order to align the creative direction and be consistent with in production, I wrote and prepared animation guidelines on Notion, build custom animation preset for text animation to be used for title cards and graphic design team’s social media deliverables. In addition, I also develop animation rigs for other animators to tackle complex shots in my absence.
- Logo Animation
- Type Animation
- Animation Direction
- Animation Toolkits
- Project management
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The logo animation was done using a combination of Cinema4D and After Effects because of the stylized Isometric 3D blocks of the logo is not entirely physically accurate due to the use of optical illusions and also how the counter of O being a see through of entire block. I first did the 3D animation within C4D, and textured each face of the block assigned with a flat primary color. The idea is to overlay the textures on each face of the block in AE by using the Set Matte effect and individual RGB channels. Each block of the logo was rendered separately, the textures was placed onto different plane using the color channels, and I cycle through several textures before resolving to the final logo design. I also kept the animation textures simple to keep it visually interesting but not too distracting.
Even though this shape tunnel appears to be moving through z-space, but it is actually an illusion created through scale. Both the panels and shapes coming out from the center are just scaling from zero to cover the screen. The shapes, including the 3D ones, are rendered images from Cinema4D and as well Element 3D. In the image below, you can see all the shapes that were used as sprite in this scene.
In order to achieve consistent text animation across all deliverables, I would develop an animation preset for my team to use in their animation. I usually prepare a series of motion sketches to show the team some options so we can decide on which one works the best. After that, I would create an animation rig or setup with expressions and controls, and package it into animation preset which I will then demonstrate to the team on its usage and as well how it works so they are able to troubleshoot in my absence. This animation preset is then given to the Graphic Design team for them to deploy for the social media animations announcing the countdown to the event.
Social Media Implementation
One of the challenge is an Animation Lead is the scarcity of time and overabundance of responsibilities while taking into considering the limited technical proficiency of my teammates. In this shot, I was able to engineer an animation rig using 2D shape layers to model a 3D block using expressions. The controls are then packaged with Essential Graphics that allows my teammates to animate the transformation and colors of the blocks. Through this process, my teammate do not have to worry about how to make things and just focus on the animation part. As for me, this allows me to focus on my shot that I was assigned.
In order to efficiently animate the abundance of graphic elements such as the geometric shapes and their animated textures, I developed a pipeline to keep my teammates informed and foresee what is coming next and what is expected.
Prior to assigning any animation work to be done, I would do a visual analysis of the styleframes and categorize elements into groups.In this this case, it was the different type of textures present on the geometric shapes. I then assigned each member to animate each set of textures as opposed to telling them to just “animate the textures”. Being specific and organized in my way of being an animation lead.
After this visual analysis, we got into animation and make them into toolkits or render them out for use in for the title cards, social media or livestream deliverables. After we complete the title card completion, we began working pre-production for the title sequence. The 3D team would do modeling and blocking out camera shots, and the 2D team would do research and motion tests on how to create the shots they were assigned. After weeks of refinement, they produce their shots that is ready for the rough cut assembly where we would then add the type credits as well as the necessary transitions.
As CoMotion was yet another Virtual collaboration, there were a lot of exchanges over Slack and Zoom. I employed the use of Notion an digital workspace for notes, tasks, and databases to curate hyperlinks, meeting notes, deliverables specifications, animation guidelines and how-tos, so my team can refer to it so as to minimize any miscommunication in instructions. It also includes meeting agenda and production schedule which are planned by me. Collaborating virtually, and there was a lot of work files being passed around, so I would also enforce a naming convention on my team so that our cloud drive and files remains organized and we can easily identified the creators of different assets.
To be able to manage all 22 student showcase title cards animated by 6 animators, I made use of frame.io, a video review and collaboration software, to track animation versions, approval status, as well as giving visually annotated feedback. Rather than speaking over Zoom, I found it better to provide visual annotations that are timestamped, so my animators can know exactly what to address as shown here. I noticed that most of my comments are reminding them to match the styleframe designs, changing the speed of certain elements to reduce visual distractions, and adding secondary motion to keep the whole scene alive.
Initial Design: Miharu Murai,Yu Xin King, Yorlie Avila
Creative Director: Miharu Murai
Art Director: Yu Xin King
Producer: Mel Petzoldt & Matt Paulsen
Lead Designer: Yorlie Avila
Lead Graphic Designer: Weiqian Han
Lead Animator: Desmond Du
Lead 3D Animator: Olivia Trotter
Lead Graphic Designer: Weiqian Han
Designers: Auralee Mayfield, Isabella Jean Ranci Ortigosa, Antara Ghosh, Tiffany Lo, Yuwei Liu
Animators: Greg Markman, DaAe Kim, Cathy Lin, Jun Zhou, Marly Koven, Brenda Chen, Wanyi Ma
Graphic Designers: Alyssa Kalbus, Aanvik Singh, Josie, Glassman,Krista Miller, Bella Shih
Experiential: Riley Carson, Priscilla Quek
Sound: Michael Karaman, Alwyn Tay
Website Andrew: Goodridge, Varun Khatri
Documentary: Samantha Woods, Haze Nguyen, Sigourney Alden
Special thanks: MOMELove, Our Professors, SCAD Motion Media, Kelly Carlton, Duff Yong,
Alexandra Marca, Kaleb Sweeney, MaryBeth Morgan